Ready to tell a story? Have a goal first!
It might sound like an obvious starting point, but you might be surprised how many projects start where a potential client knows how important film or video is, but doesn’t know what they want their video to do.
By now, almost everyone has seen the stats on how effective video can be, or how YouTube is the 2nd most trafficked search engine, or that thousands or millions of minutes of video are watched every single day - but none of that really matters if your video isn’t achieving your goals.
Think of it this way:
Just because Company Video X got 2,000,000 views, doesn’t mean that company’s sales increased by 2000%. If your goal was to get 10 new customers, and it only took 20 views to achieve that, I’d say that’s a pretty successful project.
So how do you get there? Let’s work through a few questions.
1) Why are you doing a video?
It should be the starting point of every creative project; the mystical “Why”. And I’m not talking “because our competition has a flashy video on their sweet new website” or “Because Dave in sales says that it would make his job easier”, no, I’m talking about taking steps to achieve YOUR business goals.
Your video needs to be in line with your business goals.
Taking the time to define what your goal is, allows you to create metrics to measure from. It also ensures that your creative team has a platform to build a message on. We work to cover all of this in our creative brief, but knowing what you want, before you meet with creative teams is going to make their work stronger and your results better.
2) What is the message?
You've now set a goal, so how are you going to communicate it? This is probably one of the hardest, and most time consuming, parts of a creating a great project. You and your creative team need to develop how and to whom you’re going to target and craft a message that will resonate with them.
And just to be clear, the message is not the script, it’s not even the words you’re going to use, it’s the knowing the ‘what you want to communicate” to your audience.
3) What do you want it to look like?
Now that we know the ‘Why” and the “What”, next is all about ‘Who’ and 'How’.
Do you want the CEO doing an interview? No? Talking directly to the camera? What about Dave in sales? He’s a bit too salesy, so maybe we’ll use Janice (people perceive her as more friendly). Maybe we’ll use a voice-over, and some really cool animation, and make it look like the trailer for ‘Hunger Games’.
This is really where you can let your creative team shine. Having a strong foundation of the Why and What, should give them a great start on developing concepts, and finding the best ways to achieve your goals. Remember that all of this should be, and really needs to be done, before a camera, microphone, or light stand is ever set up. There are a lot of great production companies out there that can make fantastic, award-winning visuals, but if the video isn’t helping you achieve your goals, it doesn't matter how good it looks (and don’t get me wrong, we want it to look amazing too!).
Let’s look at an example, so you know what we’re talking about. It might be one of my favourite videos, because it’s honest, to the point, and they know their audience.
Dollar Shave Club:
The ‘Why’ here should be pretty obvious, and if it isn’t, it’s “Sell more razors”. Dollar Shave Club knows their product, and they want them flying off the shelves in a subscription model, and they think their razors are ‘f**king great’. (What’s keenly unique here is this is actually a video that I think used the right amount of humour to be shareable, but it’s still very much a sales piece).
The ‘Who’ is the easiest to grab. This is a male only product, and they’re talking to guys. Not men, not suits, but guys. Everyday Joe’s that want a good shave, and are sick of paying high prices that consumer blades typically are (it’s why I rarely shave).
The “What do you want it to look like” was also simple. With a strong message and audience in mind, they used the humor and delivery in the same demographic as the Old Spice guy commercials. It is a form of humor and style that connects well with 25-35-year-old guys, which Dollar Shave Club targets.
Creative is important, and great marketing videos have shown that, but without a message that connects with your audience, a flashy video isn’t going to be as effective as you want. Start with the goal, then the audience, then let your creative team have some fun. You’ll get a video that you are not only happy with, but one that’s helping move your company move forward.